Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies

I can’t pinpoint exactly when my family sugar cookie tradition began. I have no idea where we even got the original recipe. I can’t begin to list all the ways my mom and I have tweaked the recipe (more like trial by [lots of] error). But, what I can tell you is that for at least the last decade, we’ve been making (and perfecting) this sugar cookie.

When I was baking this year’s batch, I stopped and realized that the condition of the written recipe is truly amazing. It’s just two pieces of computer paper, no longer stapled together, with a minimal amount of wear and tear. Every December there is the inevitable, panicked “Ummm… where’s the recipe???” What’s equally amazing is that I haven’t memorized it yet… but not really shocking if you know me.

Another not-so-shocking thing is that these sugar cookies are everybody’s favorite cookies… especially Santa! Seriously though, my family blows through them faster than Santa makes his Christmas Eve trip around the world! We make multiple batches and they’re gone in the blink of an eye. So because it is the season for giving, I want to share the recipe with you!

I know I’ve said that these are Santa’s favorite cookies, but that doesn’t mean you can only bake them at Christmas time. The best thing about these cookies is that you can bake and enjoy them all year round… just change the cutout shape, the frosting color or the sprinkles to fit the occasion! My family has used this recipe for all sorts of holidays and celebrations over the years. We’ve made pumpkins & ghosts, eggs & bunnies, hearts & lips, even our own initials!

Happy baking, Sloane Rangers!


  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

I’ve learned (the hard way) that it’s much easier to measure out each ingredient before I begin mixing. The recipe isn’t difficult to follow, but it helps me to avoid any mistakes! You can absolutely make these cookies without a mixer, but it definitely makes it much easier.

First, mix together the powdered sugar, margarine, egg vanilla and almond extract.

Next, slowly add in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. If you are using an electric mixer, you’ll want to add this in slowly and cover with a kitchen towel… unless you want to be covered in flour.

Once all of the ingredients are mixed together, scoop the dough out on to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

After the dough has been chilled for 3 hours, remove from the refrigerator. It will be pretty firm, so it will need to sit in room temperature for a few minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 375 °.

Once you’re able to manipulate the dough, divide into smaller, more manageable chunks. Lightly coat your surface with flour.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shape with cookie cutters. Peel away excess dough and transfer to a cookie sheet.

We used to make a variety of holiday shapes, but over time gravitated towards snowflakes. We thought they were prettiest, especially with white icing and silver or gold sprinkles.

Place the cookie sheets in the oven and bake until edges are light brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool completely.

Some will break, but it’s okay! I use those for quality control… hehe. 🙂

While the cookies are cooling, whip up the icing. Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon almond extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half until smooth and of spreading consistency. Tint with food color if you want a color other than white.

Frost and decorate as you desire. Be sure to get the sprinkles on before the icing hardens. Let iced cookies dry before arranging on a cookie plate.

Enjoy! And consider yourself at the top of the Nice List. 🙂

Please leave a comment and share your sugar cookie photos with me once you bake these cookies! I’d love to see your creations!

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